Justin Moore, left, and Wiliams assistant coach Brad Hemmerly.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Williams College crew coach Justin Moore is coaching the U.S. Women's National Team and Eight at World Junior Rowing Championships.
Moore has developed a tremendous women's crew program at Williams that has seen the Ephs win five NCAA titles in his 10-year reign. Moore coached the Ephs to the first NCAA Division III Rowing Championship for Women (2002) and this spring Williams upped its level of performance by claiming a record fourth consecutive NCAA title.
Having spent the 2007-08 academic year working with the Canadian National Women's Team while on sabbatical from Williams, Moore will be unveiling his first U.S. National Women's Junior National Team and coach the U.S. Eight boat in his first international competition at the Junior World Championships. Moore has long encouraged his Ephs to travel abroad for a semester while at Williams and now he is extending his reach
Moore's U.S. Eight will compete in a seven-boat field with France, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Romania, Russia in the World Junior Rowing Championships on the French lake of Causse Correzien near Brive-la-Gaillarde in the south west of France from Aug. 5-8.
The 2009 World Rowing Junior Championships has attracted a record number of entries with 783 athletes from 66 nations and is a part of the first-ever qualification process for the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
According to FISA's events commission chair Mike Tanner, the large numbers must be due to the added element of Youth Olympic qualification. "It seems to be the only obvious reason for the increase," says Tanner. "We have promoted the Youth Olympic Games well and this is the only chance for nations to qualify rowers for next year's Games. There is a lot of interest amongst nations in finding out what the Youth Olympics can do for our sport."
As the majority of these athletes are competing for the first time on the international stage, the field is wide open to exciting new results. In recent years Germany has been prominent on the medals podium and there is every indication that its strength will continue this year. Germany has entries in all 13 events.
To compete in the World Rowing Junior Championships, rowers must be 18 years or under. An athlete can compete as a junior until Dec. 31 of the year in which she or he reaches the age of 18. After that date she or he shall be classified an Under 23 rower.
The World Rowing Junior Championships is partly subsidized by the World Rowing Masters Regatta, which donates 1 Euro of every Masters Regatta entry fee for supporting youth rowing.
Moore is debuting with the U.S. National Junior Eight at this event and even with his storied career and resume of success it will be a learning experience for him as well on the international stage.
"As a first-time coach, I have many concerns," said Moore. "None stands out as being larger than any other. We're very excited to see that New Zealand has fielded a junior women's 8-plus, and that China has decided to make the journey. This means that all the fields will contain a depth of speed that is sure to make for exciting racing."
"I feel strengthened by the team of coaches we will have in France, and to have the input of Steve Hargis, now director of US Junior Development," he said. "Coach Hargis led the junior women over the past four years and has been a tremendous asset throughout the summer."
Moore is not making any predictions ahead of the event about his boat, but he likes what he sees. "The boat has improved a great deal during our time at the Training Center [Princeton, N.J.]. We have learned a great deal about our strengths and weaknesses and have generated a race-plan and executed it in practices with some rowing and speed that is encouraging."
Chelsea Lucas will cox Moore's U.S. Junior Eight boat. Kelly Bauer (s); Kristin Wentzel (5); Michelle Pearson (6); Louise Breen (b); Rebaca Felix (4); Brandy Herald (3); Molly Hamrick (2) and Elisabeth Murray (7) fill out the red, white and blue entry.
"This is not the first time we will have raced," he said. "We raced in the senior 8-plus at the Independence Day Regatta, the day after we selected the members of the team. This will be the first time we have raced with any kind of practice together. We've scrimmaged with the Men's J4-plus (which has a very similar time standard) and I believe it has been tremendously helpful to both crews.
"As in the past, this 8-plus is a powerful group of women. I expect that the middle1K of the racecourse would be a place where we will do 'good work.' I have also liked the way these women have handled adversity during training. They are resilient and this can be important when racing internationally"
The U.S. Eight will open on Aug. 5 either at 2:36 or 2:42 p.m. in France depending on how the field is seeded.
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